Russian PM acknowledges ground for criticism

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov remains unruffled by a State Duma motion of no confidence in his government.

When answering journalists' questions, he said that the government was treating the matter "calmly".

In his opinion, the deputies' initiative to call the no confidence vote is motivated by a desire to stir up political life in the run-up to the Duma elections.

Kasyanov said that although the elections had not begun yet, accents were already being placed, while he admitted that there were grounds to criticise the government.

The premier will not be present in the lower chamber of parliament on June 18, when the vote of no confidence will be held, as he is intending to participate in the work of a long planned economic forum in St. Petersburg.

In answer to journalists' questions, Kasyanov also denied claims that there were disagreements within the Cabinet.

According to him, the government held a "constructive, at times tough" discussion about clarifying the principles of economic policy. Kasyanov pointed out that this should not be taken as meaning conflicts or contradictions.

He stressed that there "never were nor are there" ideological differences in the Cabinet, while discussions have only been held with regard to how the set aims should be achieved.

The premier said that like-minded people worked in the Cabinet.

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